The summer months are almost here, and although many working adults cannot take a long summer break like students, most people still associate summertime with fun and relaxation; a chance to visit a new place, spend time outdoors, and enjoy being with family. Despite the common misconception that summer vacation came about to accommodate children who needed to work family farms during the summer months, the modern idea of summer vacation actually arose because of urbanization.
School attendance wasn’t mandatory in the United States until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Throughout the nineteenth century, children in urban schools attended school almost year round. Those with money often skipped the summer months, escaping the city’s heat for pleasant summer homes. Kids in rural areas often took time off to help on farms during the busy spring planting and fall harvest seasons. By the end of the century however, schools moved to create a uniform school calendar, which resulted in the long summer break.
At the same time, more Americans were becoming city-dwellers, and the natural world—seemingly untouched by human civilization, grew into an attractive contrast to the stresses of city life. Writers like Emerson and Thoreau described the transformative power of nature, urging Americans to leave behind their populated cities to find spiritual meaning in the woods. In 1869, a preacher named William Murray published Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, a guidebook that glorified the wilderness of upstate New York and portrayed it as a perfect antidote to the pressures of urban living. Murray’s book sparked a rush of city-dwellers to the Adirondacks and helped inspire the camping craze of subsequent decades. The term “vacation” replaced “holiday,” as Americans “vacated” their homes for wilderness camping.
Find hotels and car rental locations for your summer vacation by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses throughout the United States. Search the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, by entering your state and city. Find businesses by choosing from the popular categories list on the main page, or, enter search terms into the search box. Each business listing matching the search terms will show the address and phone number of the business. Real Local Pages is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from hotels and restaurants, to clothing stores and landscapers.